February 11, 2001 GMT
East Turkey

Meet three British guys who are cycling to Sydney today. To keep up the calories they are eating three meals for my one. They have no guidebooks or maps. A pocket diary with a Times world map printed in the back cover is sufficient. With a ruler and a splodgy biro they have drawn a line from London to Sydney: ďitís for directionsĒ.

Take my extra fuel filter off: it is causing big loss of performance when the fuel gets low. And re-do the rack that the boys in Bethnal Green bodged. So far: the new fuel tank they fitted had a cloth left in it; the fuel filter they fitted is no good; the rack they made has broken, the fan-on switch is unusable, the valves were set wrong and the bolts they used for the engine guard protruded into the path of the front tyre.

Get dragged off the street into the local school and end up doing two year nine English lessons. Flashback. Just like back home: shabby buildings, and teachers with all the same issues about pay, status and overwork. The women work themselves into the ground, and the men get the management jobs because they can wear a dark suit better.

Weather is real bitter now. Two thousand metres above sea level. Not looking forwards to the big climb tomorrow shown on my map by a brown elevated area the road goes right through.

In Erzurum British our cyclist friends catch up. Funny how meeting someone on the road for a second time is enough to confirm a friendship. Itís good to meet British boys. Despite my English manners and received pronunciation, I quite like a few beers and leery talk now and again. Theyíre a bit stuck. Iran is not giving visas to Brits and US citizens, which is tough on those who arenít personally responsible for bombing, wrecking and exploiting the Middle East. We discuss options. I had read somewhere about shipping from the Red Sea to Pakistan. They consult their diary map, eat more pitta and set off toward Jordan.

The climb doesnít materialise, but I swear Iíll never drip kebab fat over my map again. Still, with the wind-chill I donít like to think how cold it is. Maybe only taking summer gear was a mistake? I shove newspaper down my jacket and buy big mittens from the army surplus store. I canít brake or use the clutch but my fingers arenít blue any more. The roads are spectacular at times but ice hides in the shade cast by the valley sides. I remember coming off on my bicycle on the way back from school several times in the ice. Hurts your bum. Same principles must apply, so high gear and nice and slowly does it. Stay away from the brakes. Seems to work.

Thereís no other traffic. Europe is a long way behind now. I am finding the emptiness of these roads and the wide unfamiliar spaces a little frightening. Everything on a motorcycle is more intense. Thatís why it is so good. Multiply every sensation tenfold. Welcome to the real world. No walls, no bars, nothing between you and what you see, smell, hear and feel. When the sun flicks through the trees on a long straight you catch yourself thinking of heaven. In a car you wouldnít notice. But on these desolate white-covered plains today itís a different kind of intensity, not unlike looking at the ocean off a ship. The world seems big and I am very small and insignificant, easily forgotton.

Posted by at 11:08 PM GMT

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!